One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ingmar Bergman on Strindberg

From Strindberg's "The Confession of a Fool"

Encouraged by her few little successes, Marie undertook to write a play in five acts. I seemed to have sown into her soul all the sterile seed of my poetic inspirations. In this virgin soil it germinated and grew, while I remained unproductive, like a flower which shakes out its seed and withers. My soul was lacerated, sick to death. The influence of that little female brain, so different from the brain of a man, disturbed and disordered the mechanism of my thoughts. I was at a loss to understand why I thought so highly of her literary gifts, why I kept on urging her to write, for with the exception of her letters to me, which were mostly personal and frequently quite commonplace, I had no proof that she could write at all. She had become my living poem; she had taken the place of my vanished talent. Her personality was grafted on mine and was dominating it. I existed only through her; I, the mother-root, led an underground life, nourishing this tree which was growing sunwards and promising wonderful blossoms.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snow Images by Simon Beck

The Defense of a Fool

The Defence of a Fool (French: Le Plaidoyer d'un fou) is an autobiographical novel by the Swedish writer August Strindberg. The narrative is based on Strindberg's marriage to Siri von Essen. The book was written in French and first published in a German translation in 1893. It has also been published in English as The Confession of a Fool, A Madman's Defence, A Fool's Apology and A Madman's Manifesto.

Writing process

As his stormy marriage to Siri von Essen was coming to an end, August Strindberg feared there was a secret conspiracy between the women of Europe, and they were planning to silence him by conducting a campaign to make people believe he was insane. Strindberg therefore decided to hurriedly write a book revealing the truths about the marriage. He began to write The Defence of a Fool in the autumn 1887 and it was finished the following spring. It was written in French.[1] 

[From Wikipedia:]

The Baroness: Siri von Essen

Siri von Essen (17 August 1850, Porvoo – 22 April 1912) was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress.[1] She was married to Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel between 1872–76, with whom she had a daughter, Sigrid.[2] After their divorce, she married the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg; they were married between 1877–91. Together they had three children: two daughters, Karin Smirnov (born 1880) and Greta (born 1881), and a son, Hans (born 1884 in Lausanne, Switzerland).

Siri had always wanted to become an actress, but it was not considered suitable for a noblewoman, which was what she stated as a reason for the divorce. Between 1877 and 1881, she was an actress at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and her husband wrote many plays for her. She left the royal stage because of a pregnancy. Siri also tutored actresses who wished to learn acting for the stage, one such student being Martha Hedman.

[From Wikipedia:]


From Wikimedia Commons

Strindberg's "The Confession of a Fool"

Finished Inferno and have moved on to The Confession of a Fool.


What unparalleled guilelessness it argues to believe that there could be love without passion! There was danger even in the secret which existed between us. It was like a child conceived in secrecy, it grew and strove to see the light.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse at Xmas

Saw the Nutcracker (Dec. 22) there instead of the Pasadena Civic or Long Beach. Something different. Not the Russians, but an OK production and a very interesting venue. Afterwards we went up to Old Town Pasadena for dinner.











Saturday, December 21, 2013

Edvard Munch, August Strindberg, 1892

Strindberg, August (1849-1912)

August Strindberg (1849 - 1912)

Johan August Strindberg (About this sound pronounced ; 22 January 1849 – 14 May 1912) was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter.[1][2][3] A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics.[4] A bold experimenter and iconoclast throughout, he explored a wide range of dramatic methods and purposes, from naturalistic tragedy, monodrama, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist dramatic techniques.[5][6] From his earliest work, Strindberg developed forms of dramatic action, language, and visual composition so innovative that many were to become technically possible to stage only with the advent of film.[7] He is considered the "father" of modern Swedish literature and his The Red Room (1879) has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel.[8][9]

In Sweden Strindberg is known both as a novelist and a playwright, but in most other countries he is known almost exclusively as a playwright.

The Royal Theatre rejected his first major play, Master Olof, in 1872; it was not until 1881, at the age of 32, that its première at the New Theatre gave him his theatrical breakthrough.[1][10] In his plays The Father (1887), Miss Julie (1888), and Creditors (1889), he created naturalistic dramas that – building on the established accomplishments of Henrik Ibsen's prose problem plays while rejecting their use of the structure of the well-made play – responded to the call-to-arms of Émile Zola's manifesto "Naturalism in the Theatre" (1881) and the example set by André Antoine's newly established Théâtre Libre (opened 1887).[11] In Miss Julie, characterisation replaces plot as the predominant dramatic element (in contrast to melodrama and the well-made play) and the determining role of heredity and the environment on the "vacillating, disintegrated" characters is emphasized.[12] Strindberg modelled his short-lived Scandinavian Experimental Theatre (1889) in Copenhagen on Antoine's theatre and he explored the theory of Naturalism in his essays "On Psychic Murder" (1887), "On Modern Drama and the Modern Theatre" (1889), and a preface to Miss Julie, the last of which is probably the best-known statement of the principles of the theatrical movement.[13]

During the 1890s he spent significant time abroad engaged in scientific experiments and studies of the occult.[14] A series of psychotic attacks between 1894 to 1896 (referred to as his "Inferno crisis") led to his hospitalisation and return to Sweden.[14] Under the influence of the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, he resolved after his recovery to become "the Zola of the Occult".[15] In 1898 he returned to playwriting with To Damascus, which, like The Great Highway (1909), is a dream-play of spiritual pilgrimage.[16] His A Dream Play (1902) – with its radical attempt to dramatise the workings of the unconscious by means of an abolition of conventional dramatic time and space and the splitting, doubling, merging, and multiplication of its characters – was an important precursor to both expressionism and surrealism.[17] He also returned to writing historical drama, the genre with which he had begun his playwriting career.[18] He helped to run the Intimate Theatre from 1907, a small-scale theatre, modelled on Max Reinhardt's Kammerspielhaus, that staged his chamber plays (such as The Ghost Sonata).[19]

[From Wikipedia:]

Strindberg's "Inferno"

Another name I knew but hadn't gotten to. Kafka finally pushed me to it. Started with Inferno because it was autobiographical (to what extent?), seemed "up my alley," and because it was only $0.99 on Kindle.

An excerpt:

On the morning of my last day (as I suppose) I rise in a resigned frame of mind, which might be called religious; I have no more ties binding me to life. I have put my papers in order, written necessary letters, and burnt what had to be burnt. Then I go to bid farewell to the world in the Jardin des Plantes.

From the Jetty (Dec. 21)


Friday, December 20, 2013

Villa Riviera (Long Beach CA)

Villa Riviera is a registered historic building on Ocean Boulevard in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood of Long Beach, California, USA. From the time of its completion in 1929 through the mid-1950s, it was the second-tallest building, and the tallest private building, in Southern California. The 16-story French Gothic building has been called the city's "most elegant landmark" and a building that "has helped define the city." The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 and is currently used as condominiums.

Description and Architecture

Built from 1927 to 1929 at a cost of $2.75 million,[1] the Villa Riviera is a 16-story French Gothic Building. The structure is topped with a steeply pitched copper roof with a green patina. The building was designed by architect Richard King who won a grand prize at an international contest for the design that he referred to as "Tudor Gothic."[2][3][4] The structure features fierce-looking gargoyles perched along the ridges of the higher floors. The building was also equipped with luxurious features, including a ballroom, Italianate roof garden, lounges, high-speed elevators, "vacuum-type heating," and a 100-car garage.[1]

The Villa Riviera was originally built as a luxury residential cooperative. The 1928 promotional brochure for the building noted:
In its exterior design, VILLA RIVIERA will be distinctively individual. In general, it will savor of the majestic Tudor Gothic, but with a marked feeling of French and Italian Renaissance, all blended into a composite grace of line which will overshadow any single decorative detail. ... Within VILLA RIVIERA will provide its one hundred and thirty owner-residents and their families with every comfort, luxury and modern convenience afforded by the finest hotel or the perfectly appointed individual home."[5]
When the Villa Riviera was completed, the 447-foot high structure was the second tallest in the region—surpassed only by Los Angeles City Hall.[1] Until the 1950s, it remained the second-tallest building in Southern California and "the tallest private building in Southern California."[4][6]

Villa Riviera Gargoyles

Villa Riviera Gargoyles by AmyUlulani
Villa Riviera Gargoyles, a photo by AmyUlulani on Flickr.

Long Beach CA

Long Beach, Ca. by RickWarrenPhotos
Long Beach, Ca., a photo by RickWarrenPhotos on Flickr.
Villa Riviera

Villa Riviera at Xmas





Downtown Long Beach (Dec. 2013)


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kafka and a Game of Nine-Pins

From Letters to Felice:

But to prevent me from becoming presumptuous, someone right above my head in a studio (empty, not even let!!) stamps around all day in heavy boots and has installed some kind of quite pointless noise-machine to simulate the sound of a game of nine-pins. A heavy ball is rolled at great speed along the full length of the ceiling, lands in a corner, and comes slowly bumping back. Although the lady who lets the room can hear it too, she tries -- since nothing must be left untried for a lodger -- to use logic to deny the existence of the noise by pointing out that the studio is untenanted and empty. To which I can only reply that this noise is not the only illogical, and therefore irremediable, vexation in the world.

Augenrund IV

Monday, December 16, 2013

R L Swihart: 3 New Poems at "Posit"

I've got 3 new poems up at Posit, a new and beautifully wrought zine.

My titles: "Ari's Daimon," "I Have a House," and "Without Lifting a Finger."

Belmont Shore Round Xmas (Morning)

Augenrund III

Different place, same fence.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Xmas Lights (Colorado Lagoon) 2013


Belmont Shore/Heights: The Parrots

Used to live down by the pier, right across from Vons Market Place: the trivium of Ocean, Livingston, and Mira Mar. The parrots (scores) sleep in the Palms Motel. Can't convey the noise (I stopped at Vons tonight and witnessed their "check in"); and the photos aren't very good.